Fat Grafting vs. Breast Implants – Which Should You Choose?

Many patients want to enhance their breasts, but are nervous of looking too fake or concerned about traditional breast implants. However, recent developments in breast augmentation allow surgeons to use your own body fat to increase your bust size and lift your breasts. This is known as fat grafting. Patients also love the new look and feel of their natural breasts, along with the added benefit of improving the body’s curves. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of both fat grafting and breast implants.

Female Surgeon

The Pros of Fat Grafting Breast Augmentation

Fat grafting uses your own body fat to augment your breasts. It is also considered one of the safest and most natural filling material for the breasts. This means there is little to no risk of allergic reactions when using your own tissue. It also means your breasts look and feel more natural.

Scarring and Fat Grafting

Further, there are virtually no scars when it comes to fat injections. There is also no risk of rippling or long-term breast thinning, commonly associated with breast implants.

There is also no necessary maintenance with fat grafting in comparison with breast implants. Patients also enjoy the benefits of body contouring due to how fat is harvested for this procedure.

The Cons of Fat Grafting Breast Augmentation

There are, however, risks of calcification in the breasts from fat injections. As a result, some surgeons worry that fat grafting can interfere with breast cancer screening. Further, patients seeking a large change in breast size may not be able to achieve their results with one fat grafting procedure.

The cost for fat grafting is often more than that of breast augmentation. This means it is prohibitive for many patients. There is also a risk of lumps and nodules in the breasts. Indentations or irregularities can also occur at the site of the fat harvest, if your surgeon is inexperienced.

Health Concerns with Fat Grafting

Like all surgical procedures, there are risks involved with fat grafting. These include:

  • Cysts
  • Microcalcification
  • Infection
  • Possibility that some fat cells will leave the breast area
  • Necrosis – death – of the fat cells

Further, the amount of fat required for breast augmentation procedures is still undecided. Due to the risk of necrosis, many surgeons over inject the breasts to prevent fat loss. Further, good supply must be available for the fat or the cells will also die.

Fat Grafting and Weight Loss

There is also little research, yet, on how weight loss and weight gain affect the transferred fat and how it settles in the breasts. Many surgeons are concerned that taking fat from an area where you get primary weight gain, the stomach for example, means you are likely to continue to see breast growth if you use those fat cells.

Finally, there are also concerns that fat transfer could make it more difficult to detect breast cancer.

The Pros of Breast Implants in Breast Augmentation

Due to their extensive use over the years, breast implants produce a reliable, predictable change in size. Using breast implants also allows patients to better dictate breast size. Further, current breast implants are safe and more natural-feeling than ever. Implants also do not require additional surgery on other parts of the body, like fat grafting does.

The cost of breast augmentation with implants is also much less than fat grafting. Implants can be easily removed while it is difficult to remove fat once it is injected.

breast-implants-silicone-vs-saline-round-vs-teardrop-vs-anatomical

The Cons of Breast Implants in Breast Augmentation

Unlike fat grafting, implants carry the risk of rupture and leakage. This means they must be changed over the patient’s lifespan. Implants also have a risk of visibility and rippling, especially when they are too large for your breast tissue.

Further, breast implants have a risk of capsular contracture, when scar tissue thickens around an implant, resulting in implant hardening and distortion. Breast implants also result in visible scars for placement, unlike fat grafting. While both silicone and saline are considered safe for the body, they are still not as safe as your own body fat.

Fat Grafting or Breast Implants – Which Looks and Feels More Natural?

Breast augmentation patients now have the luxury of choosing between saline, silicone and fat grafting for their plastic surgery procedures. However, all options come with their own drawbacks and limitations.

Choosing the right type of procedure depends on many factors. Silicone and saline implants have been used countless times in breast augmentation procedures over the years. These are time tested classics that are still in regular use today. As a result, the option used in your surgery is often entirely based on what you and your surgeon decide offers you the best results.

Silicone or Saline Breast Implants?

Many surgeons prefer silicone implants as they look and feel more realistic. Silicone is often seen as softer and less weighty than saline. Saline on the other hand, are preferred by other surgeons as they have more natural bounce, go flat when you lie down, are adjustable and the body can absorb saline if you experience a rupture. Saline also often costs half the price of silicone and are great for patients nervous about putting silicone in their body.

However the choice between saline and silicone becomes less of an issue the more breast tissue you have.

Fat Grafting or Implants?

Fat grafting, on the other hand, seeks to address two issues at once. Not only is it perfect for removing fat from troubled areas using liposuction, it also can be used to augment the breasts. Many surgeons also feel it provides the most natural looking result. However, despite this advantage, fat grafting is limited to increasing the breast by one cup size per procedure. Combining a breast implant and fat graft can also give more natural results, while significantly increasing size.

Longevity and Potential Complications of Breast Implants and Fat Grafting

Many surgeons find that fat grafting is not as practical or safe as breast implants. Implants have a 40 year history, and surgeons understand their pros and cons. Fat grafting is also relatively new, meaning there is not as much research behind the technique. This includes understanding when fat dissolves, if it will form cysts, and how it can cause pain.

Complications with Fat Grafting

Many surgeons are also concerned about decrease in volume, cysts, retractions of the skin, and what happens with grafts when you gain weight. Further, many surgeons and patients find that transferred fat doesn’t have as natural a feeling to it. Compared to saline or silicone implants, fat grafts can have a rougher feeling.

Further, while fat is natural, this is also a disadvantage. Natural substances die, and with fat grafting there is the potential for necrosis and forming hard nodules. Natural fat can also lead to volume loss. Studies have shown that 30-50% of fat will survive, but you cannot predictably tell how this will affect the breast augmentation procedure.

Breast Augmentation in Melbourne

At the end of the day, the right technique is the one you and your surgeon agree will be the safest and lead to the best results. Dr Rebecca Wyten can help you carefully determine which breast augmentation procedure best fits your needs. Contact us today for further information or to discuss your first plastic surgery consultation.

Download The Breast Augmentation Guide for more information